I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since my last post, the end of the semester was nothing but stress and lack of sleep. I had two write my end-of-semester papers, as did my girlfriend, and that made for a less than happy household which is very uncommon around here. Needless to say, I aced both classes and I’m cruising into the end of the year relaxed. I will be writing a review about the Warrior Dash very, very soon but this week, I have to pack for our two week vacation coming up. That in and of itself is presenting a challenge.

I’m enjoying the end of year wind down and I’m pretty much doing nothing but sitting around. On the suggestion of my sports doctor, I’m taking the rest of the month off from running to help heal my ITB up and I’m trying to mix in some cross-training to keep me from sitting around all the time. That worked out pretty well but sort of petered off once the weekend came — I’m not a fan of having to do all this packing, haha. But hey, who doesn’t like two weeks off from work? For now, I’m relying on kettlebell training until I can get a stable mount for my TRX strap, hanging it over a door is not an option. Did that last week and the door popped open before I ever put weight on the system, that’s totally not safe. I’ve noticed my swing form is improving as my piriformis region isn’t as much in pain as it was the first time I did the swings, looking forward to expanding to other kettlebell exercises as soon as I can.

Next year is looming fast and I can’t wait. I plan on getting the photo biz back on track since I’ve taken the last ~6 months off from shooting for various issues, mostly due to health. Now that my health is more on track than it has been in years, I think it’s time to re-enter my previous scene and get things going again. I certainly won’t be going to as many shows as I used to, mostly because it’s too expensive but also because it’s just too stressful. Going to 2+ concerts a week and having to edit photos from those in addition to work and school? That’s unneeded stress and it’s unnecessary. If I don’t have to be stressed, I will do my best to not put myself in positions to be stressed.

But now, work’s calling, packing is calling, and I’m starving.

Saturday, 3 Dec 2011 is the South Florida leg of the Warrior Dash 2011 series. It will also be my last race of the year. I am totally looking forward to this race since it is the last one I will be doing but also because I am running basically the same trail as the SUPERHERO Scramble a few weeks ago, so I am at least somewhat familiar with the trail. I am also excited because this leads me into the extended second phase third phase of my overall health transformation cycle: implementing crosstraining. While I have already done some moderate TRX crosstraining this fall, after Saturday I will not be running any races (or at all) until mid-January. This is intended to give my IT band some time to heal while facilitating some core and pelvic girdle strengthening. Plus, I am leaving the country for two weeks and I do not plan on buying a lot of cold weather running gear to go run in another country, so that sort of necessitates me not running for at least two weeks.

I am looking forward to this as the work with my ART specialist/chiropractor/sports physician has been paying off big time. When I first started seeing the guys over at Health-Fit Chiro, I could barely run 1.5 miles because of my hip and now my weekly runs are at least 5k distance or slightly more — I am edging closer to 4 miles in my Vibrams. But the physical therapy exercises they are having me perform makes me realize I need to get stronger overall, so I will be doing at least one TRX session and one kettlebell session per week until January rolls around. That should give me at least 6 weeks to train back up for the upcoming Super Spartan Race in Miami in February while giving me a sound base for the Spartan Sprint in GA in March.

I am giving kettlebells a try since I already bought some and I have the room to workout on my patio, same place I will be doing my TRX workout. I already did some swing exercises last night and they kicked my butt. For doing little else other than popping your hips, I was winded! Anyways, it should all be fun and games as long as I can stay healthy and get that girdle tightened up.

Now, I think I am going to go out and do what will probably be my last training run of 2011.

Last week’s visit to Health-Fit Chiro was a fun experience. While there were not any cool gadgets to take pictures of like when I jumped in the BodPod at SMAC a few months ago. Nope, just some BOSU balls, jump stretch bands, yoga mats, and blocks in their play examination area. I went in to get my left ITB looked at since it has been bothering me all month and they confirmed my suspicions: it’s tight and pulling abnormally. Luckily, this visit has double benefits, I get to do some rehab/PT exercises followed up by some active release technique (ART) massage in my lower back. I have only run once since last week and I got roughly a mile into the run before my ITB flared back up, so I have to figure out a way to keep up my cardio activities while I am sidelined.

The doctor diagnosed me with some hip extension issues that look to be related to external hip rotation, so my left hip only has partial range of motion while in extension rather than flexion, which he told me was pretty strange. I believe it is related to tightness and soreness I am starting to experience in my lower back just above the pelvis. It gets extremely tight and sensitive to touch after a run, whether my hip hurts or not, so I think I have a combination ITB and piriformis problem. Or on the flip side, one injury is definitely causing the other, I just cannot identify which way it’s happening first. It is probably something with my running form that is the cause as I do not have the same pain during TRX or other intense activities. My only run last week was a split of grass/trail and pavement and only after a half mile or so on pavement did my hip start to hurt, so I may no longer be able to run solely barefoot on paved surfaces. I had absolutely no issues on the grassy areas, so we will see what the doctor has to say on my next visit. I am just looking forward to the massage, it makes my back feel so much better and I just have not figured out how to replicate that at home, yet. ART may be a bit painful but it is an absolute delight.

This minor injury is annoying since I have three or four races lined up between now and the end of the year that I may not be able to complete which would totally suck. I am going to try my next run either solely on grass or in my huaraches to see how that affects me. I hate cutting off my runs at 1.5 miles just to limp back to the car and feel fine the next day.

I did manage to make it out of bed to go to TRX Bootcamp at FAU’s Rec Center on Saturday and ohmygosh, I am still feeling the pain. Here’s how I described it to my coworker today: I feel like I have been beaten with a bag full of baseballs. The worst part is I still feel like that two days later. Two full days of protein-packed foods, lots of being lazy, and a ton of stretching. And here I thought I was (somewhat) in shape! Of course, me feeling so terrible is my fault since I went HAM during the whole session, sadly on an empty stomach. I should have known to quit when we were only thirty minutes in and I was on the verge of puking up whatever was left in my stomach and I realized we still had thirty more minutes to go. Every muscle in my body hurts, so I have been a fat lazy bum since Saturday afternoon. I think I stretched for two hours last night, pulling every stretch for a few minutes at a time.

I am pretty sure the last time I hurt like this was in 7th or 8th grade when I was just beginning weight training, I know I never had muscle soreness this badly in high school or the years afterward when I was still a gym rat. Even after having a whole summer off from football or wrestling training did not make me feel this way, although I do know I had days like this after football when I was fighting my way up the bench for a linebacker position. But the upside is that my IT band no longer hurts, I think. It may still hurt but everything else feels worse, so we will see what the chiropractor says on Wednesday when I go. Hopefully he can give me some more stretches to do in case this happens again, it is too expensive to go on a routine basis.

I may or may not go back on Saturday, it beat me like a drum. But since I have only logged four runs this month, I need to do something, I am getting very antsy. I just hope that once the spring semester starts, the Rec Center will continue to offer TRX classes. I just need to remember that I am not as young and fit as I once was. I think in forty-five seconds, I did three or four atomic push-ups, I was totally blown out. After that thirty minute mark, I pretty much struggled with all the exercises except for crunches and stretching at the end. Overall, it was the best workout I have done since I stopped training nearly a decade ago. Since TRX kicked my ass so much, I probably will not be able to make any Strong Owl practices before the competition on 5 Oct 2011. That stinks but I know they will be doing it again next year and hopefully I can compete then.

I am totally blitzed so I think I will be heading off to sleep.